General 15.12.2023

Does our next president believe in economic growth?

The president of the republic leads foreign and security policy but in Finland the president is also considered a value leader. RINKI asked the presidential candidates their view on reconciling economic growth and sustainable development.

By Anna Mäkelä

Kuva, Antti Yrjönen, Sakari Röyskö, Anton Sucksdorff, Jussi Ratilainen

Can ecologically sustainable development and economic growth be reconciled? How can it be done?


Mika Aaltola, Constituency association

Mika AaltolaSustainable development and economic growth can support each other. In the core of sustainable development are innovations, where Finland is one of the top countries globally. Thanks to innovations we can minimize the negative impact of the environment and simultaneously promote economic activity. Ecologically sustainable development requires alternatives that are not tied to economic growth. Integrating sustainable development in different sectors of the economy calls for a broad societal input and participation. Although the role of the president is not to decide on the national economy, they have a significant influence on Finnish export promotion and facilitation of opportunities. Finland is in the forefront of developing clean energy, digitalisation, and green transition. The task of the president is to support and promote companies that play a central role in solving these challenges.”


Li Andersson, Left Alliance:

Li Andersson“Yes, they can, and it is necessary. Ecologically sustainable development is a prerequisite for our economy and society to continue to exist for our grandchildren. The investments made into ecological transition create jobs, welfare and growth. Striving exclusively for economic growth is not a good primary objective. Both the growth of welfare for people and the environment must be pursued. The development of society and economy must be measured with various means, not only the growth of the gross national product.”




Sari Essayah, Christian Democrats:

Sari Essayah“Ecological sustainability and economic growth can be combined by promoting circular economy solutions. Simultaneously the significance of pure nature as a factor of Finnish competitiveness strengthens and the circular economy creates new jobs and business. Moving to lifecycle thinking creates competitive edge. By promoting circular economy solutions in agriculture and forestry or for example in fish farming as well as using textile waste, components of machinery and vehicles we can improve our self-sufficiency and the condition of nature, increase the degree of processing, and improve the sustainable use of natural resources.”


Olli Rehn, Constituency association

Olli Rehn“It is necessary to combine ecological sustainability and economic growth. Economic growth has to be built upon cleaner and sustainable solutions and circular economy. These solutions also reduce emissions and use of resources. It is not only how people behave in everyday life, or how the industry and businesses work. We also need to invest in research and development. Our achievements in the last decades can inspire us to reach next level. There are significant opportunities to promote circular economy both nationwide, globally and in everyday life.”



Alexander Stubb, National Coalition Party

Alexander Stubb“It is not a zero-sum game. As a matter of fact, they go hand in hand and are seldom controversial. In the future an ever-bigger part of Finnish work is based on developing environmentally friendly solutions and technologies and exporting them around the world. My strong belief is that circular economy will create growth.”